Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Native of This County Now Living Out In Kansas Past 101 Years Old

The Register-Leader, February 10, 1920

The Salina (Kansas) Evening Journal of Friday, February 6th, contains a story bearing a Geneseo, Kansas, dateline, which should be of much interest to Washington county people, as it tells of the life of one of the pioneers in this county.  Mrs. J. W. Porter and her husband left Washington county in 1845 and joined the streams of people moving westward for better farms.  Further details as to her life are given in the article which is reprinted below:

Woman is 101 Years Old.  Has Lived Over a Century and Recalls Early Colonial Days.

Geneseo, Feb. 6.  Born less than nineteen years after the death of George Washington and only one year after the retirement of James Madison, a Rice county woman has lived under more presidential administrations than any other Kansan.

For, if Mrs. Porter of Geneseo lives until next June - and there is every indication that she may see several summers yet - she will be 102 years old.

Mrs. Porter was born on June 6, 1818, in Washington county, Ohio.  Her father had settled near Marietta in 1812 while the fourth president of the United States was still in office.  She was the third of twelve children and the family home was near Blennerhassett Island, where Aaron Burr hatched his ill-fated conspiracy against his country.  While in her early teens she was sent to Newport seminary and on her return had the distinction of being the first girl to teach public school in her district.  She frequently heard Alexander Campbell, founder of the Christian church, preach, and met her first beau on the steps of the first Campbell church.

After her marriage in 1845 to J. W. Porter, she joined the western cavalcade, then staking homes beyond the Mississippi, and came to Missouri, where the family settled near Unionville, building a double log cabin that was replaced in 1859 by a real house of sawed lumber.

The Rice county centenarian is the mother of seven children, two of whom, John and Dick Porter, now live at Geneseo.

Mrs. Porter is still hale and hearty and takes a vivid interest in her surroundings.  She hears well, has a surprisingly clear memory, and reads a great portion of her time.  Until a few months ago she knitted persistently and many a home in Geneseo prizes a bit of her knitting done after she had passed her hundred and first birthday.

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